Consent has been granted for the 22-turbine wind farm at Ewe Hill, six of which already had planning permission from Dumfries and Galloway Council. At the same time, an application to build the 21-turbine Rowantree wind farm near Oxton in the Scottish Borders has been refused on the grounds of noise impacts to nearby residents, in addition to visual impacts.
The Ewe Hill project represents a £65 million investment by developer Scottish Power Renewables, and will have a generating capacity of up to 51MW. It could power the equivalent of approximately 24,000 homes in the area.
It is expected to deliver the equivalent of around 80 short-term construction jobs, with further employment opportunities likely to arise during the decommissioning process.
It is also estimated that around £20 million will be spent on the construction of civil and electrical infrastructure, with Scottish Power Renewables seeking to encourage contractors to hire from local suppliers, where possible.
Over the operational life of Ewe Hill Windfarm, Scottish Power Renewables expects to deliver the equivalent of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity per annum towards community led initiatives, totalling around £6.3 million over the lifetime of the development, and is currently in discussions with local communities on how to take this fund forward.
Ewing said: “The Ewe Hill wind farm will create a significant number of jobs, as well as generating power for many thousands of homes.
“It’s encouraging to see that a solution has been found to deal with the aviation radar issues which have held the proposal up.
“Projects like this provide considerable benefits to the local community, and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of 100% of electricity demand generated from renewables.
“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of renewables projects should reflect the scale and character of the landscape, as well as being considered environmentally acceptable.
“That is why I have refused permission for the proposed wind farm at Rowantree, which would have brought unacceptable environmental impacts to people living in the area.”
The Scottish Government has determined 93 energy applications, including consent for 63 renewable applications: 36 onshore wind, one offshore wind, 19 hydro, four wave and tidal and three Renewable Thermal Plants, and 19 non-renewable projects since May 2007. The Scottish Government has previously rejected 11 energy applications since May 2007, all of which were onshore wind farms.
The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently considering another 54 applications of greater than 50MW capacity generating stations, including 50 onshore wind applications, one renewable hydro application, one non-renewable hydro applications, and two renewable thermal applications. In addition to this there are 13 active applications for overhead lines, and one application for a Water Rights Order associated with a hydro development